JBL Flip 3 review - One of the best

 
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JBL Flip 3 review - One of the best

16/07/2018 21:34:11

A top portable Bluetooth speaker for the money

The Good The JBL Flip 3 is a highly portable Bluetooth speaker that's splashproof and designed to be used horizontally or vertically. It sounds very good and plays very loud for its size, can act as a speakerphone and offers improved battery life at up to 10 hours. You can also wirelessly link multiple Flip 3 speakers using the free JBL Connect app.

The Bad Some distortion at higher volumes with certain tracks.

The Bottom Line Enhanced with better battery life and splashproof design, the Flip 3 is one of the best mini portable Bluetooth speakers available.

 

hird time's a charm, right? When it comes to JBL's Flip 3 Bluetooth speaker, it is. This third-generation model has a more streamlined, splashproof design and better battery life (at 10 hours), while the price remains the same at $100, £100 or AU$150. And as with all such speakers, the JBL plays any audio content from a Bluetooth-enabled source -- nearly any smartphone or tablet, and most recent computers -- so long as it's in the same room, or relatively nearby.

I received a black review unit, but the speaker, which weighs in at just less than a pound (15.9 ounces or 450 grams), is available in seven other colors and like its predecessors can be stood up vertically or laid out horizontally. Since one of the bass ports gets covered up a bit when you go vertical, you do get a little more bass in horizontal mode.

No carrying case is included with the speaker like it was with the JBL Flip 2 (that speaker launched at $120, then came down to $100). But it seems pretty durable and, as I said, it's water-resistant and has a flap that securely covers its USB charging port and audio input.

At first we thought there there was no pause/play button on the speaker, but it turns out the answer/end button doubles as a pause/play button and also allows you to skip tracks forward and back (double tap to advance forward, triple tap to skip back).

Performance

It'd be good to pair up a couple of these, but a single Flip 3 sounds just fine and plays very loud for its size with ample bass, though a speaker this compact has its limitations. The original Flip delivered 2x5 watts of sound while the Flip 2 was augmented to 6 watts. This model gets an additional boost to 8 watts -- and it makes a difference.

For the same price you can get the UE Roll, which is totally waterproof and is another speaker I like a lot at this price. The Roll has a flatter design and is more outdoor-oriented (it doesn't have a speakerphone), but the two speakers sound somewhat similar. The Flip 3 plays a little louder, however.

I also compared the Flip 3 to the UE Boom and JBL's own Charge 2+, which has 15 watts of power. Both of those models sound a little fuller and offer slightly deeper bass.

The optimal listening distance for the Flip 3 is somewhere between 3 and 12 feet (1 and 4 meters) with the volume set around 75 percent. Going back and forth between the more expensive UE Boom, I found it disperses sound better over a wider area and sounds better than the Flip 3 when you're standing farther away from it. Of course, none of these small speakers offer much, if any, stereo separation.

 

Read more here: https://www.cnet.com/products/jbl-flip-3/2/

 

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